Sechrist Elementary hosted its 14th annual turkey drive last week, encouraging donations of frozen turkeys for local families in need. The turkeys were going to the Sunshine Rescue Mission to be given out for Thanksgiving.
Sechrist fifth-graders in orange shirts and turkey hats stood in front of the school Thursday morning, waving signs for the event and moving the donated turkeys through a series of stops.
One group of students, consisting of Anna, Edgar, Cameron, Andrew and Jada, stood on the far end of the drop-off lane in front of the school waiting for people to hand off donations. They said students were taking on a variety of tasks to help with the drive.
“We stand here and people from all around Flagstaff can stop and donate turkeys,” Cameron said. “We take them to the table and we weigh them and count how many turkeys we have.”
“And then we give them to the people who don’t have turkeys,” Anna added.
Sechrist Elementary fifth-graders run the turkey drive, but the entire school participates, fifth-grade teacher Chad Davis said. He and another fifth-grade teacher started the drive.
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The goal every year is to donate 125 turkeys, Davis said, though their average is about 150 a year, with the majority being donated the day of the drive. He said on Tuesday, Nov. 16, Sechrist was storing six turkeys that people had dropped off after seeing the signs in the school's parking lot.
By 8 a.m. on the morning of the event, 41 turkeys had been donated and more were coming in. Amy, a fifth-grader in charge of tallying the number received every half-hour, said she’s attended Sechrist since kindergarten.
“We’re getting turkeys and we’re donating them to the homeless shelter, so they’re for people that don’t have enough money to buy food for Thanksgiving,” she said.
Other students, named Julie and Ryder, were at the same table, recording the number of pounds each turkey weighed, using either the tags or an estimate. Julie said the plan was to eventually add up the total number of pounds donated, likely this week in class.
The drive also included a turkey bowling fundraiser to raise money to help kids in the community. Basketballs wrapped in white to resemble the frozen turkeys are rolled towards pins set up at the side of the school building.
“That money’s meant to help kids in our community,” Davis said. "[We thought] it would be a good community service project for kids to do...and its built from there."